Sunday, May 4, 2014

Horror Stories of ObamaCare: Oregon

Rhode Island's health insurance exchange is going bankrupt. Health Source RI officials were so desperate to get young people to enroll, that they prepared a "nag app" so that parents would pressure their (adult) children to purchase overpriced, underserving health insurance.

After millions of dollars, Maryland lawmakers have abandoned Maryland Health Connect and have adopted the Connecticut platform.

Massachusetts is still tangling with its own Obamacare website, even though the Commonwealth had its own state-sponsored health insurance mandate, which was working well without the interloping of the federal government.

Now Oregon has nothing but frustration and embarrassment in its wake following the failed rollout of its state health insurance exchange: Cover Oregon.

Gov. John Kitzhaber
Except instead of covering Oregon residents, the botched health insurance exchange has exposed the state to massive debt and loss.

An emergency physician before representing the Beaver State for three terms (and seeking a fourth this year), Kitzhaber had dismissed the health exchange manager, yet for all his efforts, there was no recovering the pulse for the dying health insurance website, which did not enroll one person on line.

Aside from more people taking on Medicaid, Obamacare was one big bummer.

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber had little comfort to offer his constituents following the $200 million waste.

Oregon is switching over the federal exchange.

With all the money frittered away on the progressive pipe dream of centrally enforced health insurance, one has to wonder how many doctors, nurses, and hospitals that money could have provided for.


  1. A new Gallup poll shows that the number of uninsured is the lowest ever recorded, a finding that punches holes in the right-wing narrative that few uninsured individuals have gained coverage under Obamacare.

    On May 5, Gallup released a new poll showing that the percentage of Americans who are uninsured dropped to 13.4 percent, the "lowest monthly uninsured rate recorded since Gallup and Healthways began tracking it in January 2008." Gallup pointed out that the consistent decline in the number of uninsured adults "coincided with the health insurance marketplace exchanges opening in October 2013."
    Conservative media outlets have consistently tried to spin Obamacare enrollment numbers in an effort to discredit the ACA, claiming that the health care law increased the number of uninsured Americans.

    Fox News led the charge in pushing the false narrative that the "net result" of the ACA was "quite negative," casting past increases in insured individuals as "practically a net wash." The network has relied heavily on anecdotal evidence from "victims" of Obamacare to stoke fears that the ACA has led to rampant cancellations and effectively uninsured more individuals than it has insured. Several news outlets employed similar tactics, despite the fact that many of the Obamacare victims' stories crumbled upon investigation.

    Fox has also hyped fears that young people's failure to sign up for plans would force the ACA "into [a] death spiral" that would in turn cause skyrocketing premiums. Conservative blogs including Breitbart and the Daily Caller have made similarly egregious claims, ignoring enrollment surges and claiming that Obamacare's "current net effect is clearly in favor of cancellations."

    Gallup's recent poll renders these allegations not only unfounded, but downright untenable. Any claims that Obamacare would result in a 'net loss' ignore the option to renew plans, tax credits, and Medicaid expansion, all of which have had an obvious and unprecedented effect in lowering the number of uninsured.

    In a May 5 piece highlighting Gallup's finding, The New Republic noted that "the trend in the Gallup polling clearly isn't a blip," and concluded that the conservative media's fear mongering is "just not credible anymore."

    With over 8 million people enrolled in private health plans, an additional 4.8 million newly enrolled under Obamacare's Medicaid expansion, and new polling suggesting the Obama's health care law is already a strong success, right-wing media may want to rethink their narrative on Obamacare.

  2. Three large health insurers including WellPoint Inc. (WLP) and Aetna Inc. (AET) say that a high percentage of their new Obamacare customers are paying their first premiums, undermining a Republican criticism of enrollment in the program.

    As many as 90 percent of WellPoint customers have paid their first premium by its due date, according to testimony the company prepared for a congressional hearing tomorrow. For Aetna, the payment is in the “low to mid-80 percent range,” the company said in its own testimony. Health Care Service Corp., which operates Blue Cross Blue Shield plans in five states including Texas, said that number is at least 83 percent.

    Making the first monthly payment is the last step to confirm enrollment in plans sold under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and Republicans have made the question of how many paid a line of attack on the law.

    “What you have here is very solid first year enrollment, no matter how you slice it,” Dan Mendelson, president of Avalere Health, a Washington consulting firm, said in a phone interview. “This thing is, at this point, well entrenched.”